Keep Rollin’ Honey
How one Banff artist went from almost never getting into music to making her first album
By Bigoa Machar
Four years ago, if you had asked Amelie Patterson what her daily life would consist of in 2016, music would not have been her answer. Originally studying Biology at the University of Victoria, Patterson says she’s always loved making music, but as a career it was something that wasn’t so welcoming at the time.
“When I was in high school, I had a really strong connection with music. I started playing the guitar and writing songs when I was 17,” Patterson says. “I was always told that music was a hard road, and those voices were 10 times louder when I was in high school.”
Rather than act on her passion of music, Patterson, a native of Banff, Alta, took a more conventional route, one that garnered more positive reception from those around her.
“I opted to go for something that people would be more welcome to, which was funny because I was less likely to go to vet school than I was to be a musician,” Patterson says. “I noticed that when I told people that I was going to vet school, they would all say ‘Wow, that’s super tough, good for you!’ There was a completely different spin on it, so I shied away from going into music. It took me a long time to get there.
Despite taking a break from pursuing music during her studies, Patterson says people began to recognize her talent once she began showcasing it more.
“During my degree, I had a lot of wonderful friends that were amazingly supportive of my music,” Patterson says. “I would perform at charity events and stuff like that and they would always tell me ‘Why aren’t you doing this, why isn’t this a major priority for you?”
Towards the end of her degree, Patterson says her heart began taking her in another direction as she began to realize where her passions lie.
“When I was in University studying the sciences, I would always joke that I was an imposter there,” Patterson says. “I was a famous procrastinator. I would never go to class and do all of my work last minute and somehow pull a mark out of my ass. I just wasn’t a scientist.”
Enough was finally enough for Patterson, as it took one key moment in her life to decide which way to go at this specific crossroad.
“It wasn’t until I was applying to vet school, with all of my reference letters done and what not, that I thought ‘If this was a perfect world and I could do anything, what would it be?’” Patterson says. “It was always music and it was an easy answer for me, so I thought ‘Well why aren’t I doing this?”’
Although the support wasn’t initially there at the beginning, Patterson says that the decision to follow music was much easier this time around.
“I’m really fortunate to have super cool parents,” Patterson says. “Their both doctors and understand medicine as a lifestyle so I called them and said I wanted to go into music. My dad said to give a year to try hard and give it my all in music and see where I get.”
And thus her musical journey began. With a guitar in her hand and fire in her heart, Patterson was ready to take the music scene by storm. But before she could do that, she had to learn the formalities and technicalities of the music world. This took her to the other side of the country.
“I went out to Halifax and lived with my brother and my sister in law, who is also a musician, so I was able to just learn a lot,” Patterson says. “The only way to learn is just doing it. You have to share your stuff and get criticism from it. I’m lucky that I come from a science background because when it comes to criticism, I would much rather get feedback in than not. Feedback in science is really crucial, so when it comes to music I can take it.”
While feedback and criticism may be hard to take for some, Patterson says it’s something her science background helped her with.
“My music is a very true, genuine representation of myself that nobody can take from me, so if someone says that they don’t like my music, it’s like ‘Shit, well I’m sorry but that’s okay.’ When you make music, you’re really doing everything you can do to the best of your ability,” Patterson says. “I’d be making that music regardless of their opinion.”
Fast forward now three years, where Patterson has turned her new musical knowledge and constructive criticism into a unique and powerful album. Her album, Roll Honey Roll, is a self-reflective story in which Patterson uses her own experiences to create stories and sounds that show who she is as a person.
“As a musician, I’m very set on what I like and what I don’t like. I had a big idea of the sounds I wanted to make and the stories I wanted to tell on the album,” Patterson says. “I’ve been really lucky to be surrounded by other musicians and jam with them because I’m not musically trained, so I’ve been able to facilitate the musical skills I have.
The single off the album, entitled Tic Tac Blues, is especially meaningful to Patterson, as she wrote it to remind her to ignore the minor setbacks she has had and look at the success of her musical career as a whole.
“Tic Tac Blues was written as a mantra to my younger self. As much as I love music, it is definitely hard as times. That’s why I wrote the song, to keep motivating me to keep going. It’s easy to look and say that you haven’t done anything in a month, but I look at where I’ve come in three years keep going from there.”
As Amelie Patterson continues to become a bigger name in the Canadian Folk-Rock scene, she says there’s still things she hopes to overcome and achieve.
“I’ve been gigging for three years now and I have to thank the Banff community for letting me play at so many different places. I still get nervous, but not until right before I’m about to perform. I can walk around during the day feeling fine, but at that very moment I’ll feel beet red, but there’s no time to feel nervous once you get up there. Live music is such a beautiful moment, so you might as well live it up.”
Be sure to check out Amelie Patterson’s new album Roll Honey Roll, now availible on all streaming platforms, and follow her on Twitter (@ameliepmusic) and Facebook (@ameliepattersonmusic) to keep up with all of her live performances and future music releases.